The Braves became the first team from east of the Cascades to win the Class 3A state football title since 1999, ending O’Dea’s bid to win its first state crown since 1995.
TACOMA — It’s easy to forget about Eastern Washington.
There’s the finicky mountain pass during the winter months and its endless sunny days during the summer that sometimes makes it seem so otherworldly from the western side of the state. It’s even worse when it comes to Class 3A football.
Since the turn of the century, no team east of the Cascades had won the Class 3A state title.
State football championships
2B: Napavine34, Liberty (Spangle) 16
3A: Kamiakin 14, O’Dea 7
1A: Royal (12-0) vs. Connell (12-1), 10 a.m.
2A: Archbishop Murphy (13-0) vs. Liberty (Issaquah) (12-0), 1 p.m.
1B: Odessa-Harrington (13-0) vs. Neah Bay (10-1), 4 p.m.
4A: Camas (13-0) vs. Richland (13-0), 7:30 p.m.
All games at Tacoma Dome
Kamiakin ended the drought on Friday night at the Tacoma Dome. With a 14-7 overtime win against top-ranked O’Dea, the Braves will travel back across the mountain pass with the football program’s first state championship. It’s also the first for the town of Kennewick.
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“I’m living in a fantasy right now,” said Kamiakin quarterback Zach Borisch, who ran in the winning touchdown in overtime.
The Braves received help in OT from a 10-yard defensive penalty on O’Dea, placing the ball at the 15-yard line.
Kamiakin then capitalized when Borisch ran to his right and skimmed the pylon for a15-yard score.
O’Dea had its chance to counter, also starting at the 25-yard line according to high-school overtime rules. But Irish junior Jamyn Patu scrambled for a loss of 19 yards on first down.
His teammates managed to regain the yardage and got to fourth-and-one. Sophomore Mark Tafia was stopped at the line of scrimmage, sending Kamiakin into a frenzied celebration.
Braves defensive coach Tim Maher announced he’s retiring this season after 39 years coaching at the school.
“Once I realized that we stopped them, I broke down,” Maher said, tearing up again. “It just hit me. It’s funny, this season I wasn’t reading stats. I wasn’t in to all of that, just smelling the roses each day. It’s been an honorable year for me to be with these kids.”
The teams combined for nine first downs in a scoreless opening half.
Patu didn’t find a gap in Kamiakin’s defense until the third quarter, breaking loose for 47 yards with 8:48 on the clock. He scored a 20-yard touchdown run on the next play to give the Irish a 7-0 lead.
Kamiakin found an answer late in the fourth quarter with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Borisch to Darreon Moore with 4:24 left in the game. Borisch completed 12 of 27 passes for 172 yards.
O’Dea had a chance to win at the end of regulation but missed a 29-yard field goal as time expired.
“We made a lot of adjustments at halftime and had to play for each other,” O’Dea senior defensive lineman Doug Russell said. “They (Kamiakin) just wanted it a little more than we did and prepared a little harder.”
O’Dea’s quarterback troubles played a part in its inability to run the ball in the opening half. It played with fourth-string quarterback Emonte Scott, a 6-foot sophomore, due to injuries.
The Eastside has been shutout of the championship game the past five years. Kamiakin was the last, losing to Bellevue in 2010.
O’Dea hasn’t won a state title since 1995 and was last in title game when it lost to Bellevue in 2011.